Writers love trivia.

Doing my daily hour walk in the high desert, surrounded by juniper trees.

I write a fair number of stories set in this terrain, and casually mention the juniper trees often. I mean, it's more specific than "trees" but not by much. It's it bit like saying Toyota instead of "car." It's more of a telling detail but not a lot more.

The thing is, though, that as I contemplate this, I realize I have an reservoir of knowledge about the juniper trees.

They are long living trees, over 1000 years in some cases. They suck up water, making it difficult for shrubs like bitter brush to survive, thus impacting on the deer population. Before homesteading in the high desert in the wet early part of the 1900's, the junipers mostly lived in high rocky places where the fires couldn't get them.

With land clearing and fire suppression, the juniper population took off, now covering 165% more territory. The wood isn't useful as firewood because it burns too hot. In fact, anyone who can find a really good use for juniper trees would have lots of material to work with.

Old growth junipers can be identified by having rounder tops, with dead branches poking up, with lichen covering the lower branches. Old growth is protected, but it would be good for the ecology of the area if the new growth could be curtailed. Old growth is important for the bird population.

So I know this off the top of my head. (I've lived in Central Oregon my whole life. I read placards at the foot of hiking trails every time I see them)

Here's the point I'm trying to make. At any point in a story any of the above facts can add verisimilitude and or telling detail to a story. I don't have to research this, it's just there.

I'm a fact gatherer, I love just scooping up info at random for no good reason. I read anything that grabs my interest whether it makes sense or not.

I'm currently reading a book about North Wall of the Eiger. I have no idea why. I'm not ever going to be a mountain climber. But...the first nine men who tried to climb the wall died. Why would you want to be the tenth attempt? For the first couple decades you had about a 50% chance of dying versus getting to the summit.

Thing is, I've written lots of stories where the characters are struggling with the elements--snow, heights, ect.

All this adds to the ability to write a story. Just these little random facts. As long as you don't go too crazy doing them.

I rely on my general knowledge to get me through the first draft because I don't want to have to stop my progress to look stuff up. That's a different part of the brain.

After I'm done, I do research, find out where I've got the details wrong, find new details that are pertinent, but it's rare that I'm so wrong I can't use what I've written with a little jiggering.

Anyway, my suspicion is that most writers are like this. General knowledge that they can dip into to add telling detail to their stories. Without these little bits of color, the story inevitably seems bland and generic.

There are more than enough bland and generic stories in the world.

Give us a little juice.